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Speakers

Yassmin Gramian

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary


Yassmin Gramian, PE, serves as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, a position that she assumed in May 2020. She manages PennDOT’s annual budget of $9.5 billion and oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. Under her leadership, the department is directly responsible for Pennsylvania’s vast system of state and local highways and bridges, as well as oversees the state’s vehicle registration, driver’s licenses and ID operations.

After serving as acting secretary for more than five months, Gramian was confirmed as secretary amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Under her leadership, PennDOT moved swiftly during the early stages of the pandemic to close buildings and offices across the state and transfer essential functions – including traffic management and executive leadership – to remote operations. PennDOT continued to engage maintenance teams statewide to ensure roads were kept safe and passable, and crews remained available for responding to weather events.

Prior to joining PennDOT, Gramian worked for over 30 years in operations, design, and management of transportation infrastructure systems, including highway, tolling, bridge, and railroad projects. Gramian earned master's and bachelor's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and completed the Tuck Management Training Program at Dartmouth College. She is a professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Florida. 

Justin Schwartz

Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering


Dean Schwartz currently oversees more than 400 faculty members, more than 12,000 students, and approximately $250 million in total expenditures within the College of Engineering. He has grown the College of Engineering’s tenure-line faculty by approximately 10% per year for three consecutive years. He launched the Engineering Equity Initiative, with the aim of achieving gender equity among the undergraduate student population in seven years and to improve the underrepresented minority demographics to match the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As part of this initiative, Dean Schwartz created the position of associate dean for equity and inclusion; increased the diverse demographics every year; promoted corporate and alumni fundraising in support of equity; transformed scholarship awarding protocols, significantly improving female and underrepresented yield; and created an allies program to engage non-underrepresented students and male students as equity partners.

Dean Schwartz has helped to grow the college’s endowments by about $50 million a year. He helped lead the establishment of the Clark Scholars program, a $25 million endowment—$15 million gift from the Clark Foundation and $10 million from Penn State — which will support 40 full-time undergraduate students that are selected based on merit and financial need.

He was also instrumental in the creation of the “Law, Policy and Engineering Initiative,” which brings together faculty from the College of Engineering, Penn State Law, and Penn State School of International Affairs. This initiative is the first of its kind in the world and has established research and scholarly collaborations across multiple disciplines.

Some other notable initiatives that Dean Schwartz has helped established and lead include Penn State’s partnership with Project Drawdown; transitioning entrance to major from four semesters to two semesters; initiation of the “Exposure to Major” video and content series; creation of numerous seed grants; and strengthening the college’s relationship with the Applied Research Lab.

Dean Schwartz’s research interests include superconducting, magnetic and multiferroic materials and the systems they enable. He has published more than 246 peer-reviewed journal articles and has graduated 45 doctoral and master’s students in six academic disciplines, including 15 female, six underrepresented minorities.

 

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  • Yassmin Gramian
  • Photo: PennDOT

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  • Justin Schwartz
  • Photo: Penn State
 
 

About

The Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC) attracts professionals from throughout Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic region, and the country. It is an authoritative source of information on pressing issues from some of the foremost experts in transportation today.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-1891